From contributed reports
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC has announced its endorsement of Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor; Ralph S. Northam, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor; and Mark D. Obenshain, the Republican candidate for attorney general.
“The individuals we endorsed have demonstrated their support for farmers through their leadership on specific issues or their favorable voting records while holding positions in the General Assembly,” said Wayne F. Pryor, VFBF president and chairman of the VFBF AgPAC board of trustees. “We believe we have endorsed three candidates who have helped farmers and will continue to help agriculture and forestry remain viable and remain Virginia’s largest industry.”
Pryor said Cuccinelli “has a proven track record of standing up for eminent domain reform” and for fair treatment of landowners in the takings process. “Without the leadership of Ken Cuccinelli, we would not have the eminent domain reform amendment to Virginia’s constitution,” approved by voters last fall.
He also praised Cuccinelli for calling foul when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attempted to overstep its statutory authority on water and air issues that affect farms.
“While farmers want clean water and air, they cannot survive if heavy-handed regulatory measures come to bear in the future from an overzealous federal agency. We appreciated Mr. Cuccinelli’s efforts as attorney general to question the EPA’s authority in trying to define water, itself, as a pollutant. While that case was not directly tied to agriculture, his actions served to call attention to the EPA overstepping its bounds.”
Pryor said Northam “has an excellent voting record on some of the key issues important to farmers. He supported the passage of the constitutional amendment on eminent domain reform. He grew up on the Eastern Shore with roots in the farming community, and we believe his experience on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee will serve as a useful background with regard to issues that have an impact on farmers.”
Obenshain, Pryor said, has also been a strong advocate for farmers on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee and has an agriculture-friendly voting record.
“He carried the constitutional amendment for eminent domain reform even in years when its passage failed, but he never gave up. He reached across the aisle to build bipartisan alliances to achieve its passage. He also recognizes the need to make sure the interests of landowners are protected. We believe that Mr. Obenshain, as Virginia’s next attorney general, will continue to make sure that the EPA doesn’t try to bully Virginia into complying with job-killing regulatory measures that exceed its statutory authority.”
The nonpartisan VFBF AgPAC was created by Farm Bureau in 1999 and employs in-kind contributions to support candidates who can best support agriculture and Farm Bureau issues.